Rails End Nursery
Jackie, what made you set up the CL? Well I've been running a nursery for a number of years and like many small nurseries it was a lot of work and was becoming less profitable, so we looked for alternatives. In fact, the previous owners of the nursery had applied to open a CL but had been turned down because they didn't want to devote sufficient space to it, but we were successful. It was a great decision for us.
Since opening the site four years ago the nursery side of the business, although active, is now less important and luckily bookings on the CL have gradually increased year on year. 2019 looks like a much better year than 2018 when we had 320 nights. The month of May this year was mad and we were almost fully booked.
Is it your location that helps? I think it's a number of things; we're not far from the M5 which is always handy and we appeal to motorhomes because we are on a bus route which takes people into Evesham or Tewkesbury and we’re also 5 minutes walk from a very good pub.
How did you determine your pricing? We charge £15 per pitch and I worked that out from talking to some other owners and members, but we are thinking of increasing that particularly in the winter months so that we cover our electricity costs because we don't meter the usage.
Did you do much research before you opened and how much help did the Caravan Club give you? To be honest we didn't do much research, but the club was really helpful. Our site officer, Phil Batchelor, was great and although we also approached the camping and caravan club at the same time, they never got back to us, so we've been very pleased with the Caravan Club.
Are you thinking of making any improvements or enhancements to the CL? Yes, although we have a little bit of hard standing we are seriously thinking about improving that to allow us to accommodate motorhomes more easily. We may consider adding service bollards at the same time. This Summer we will probably add a website and may think about online bookings as well.
What do you like and dislike about running the CL? I really love meeting people. I’m a people per son and I'm always happy to have a chat with them and funnily enough, I also enjoy sitting on my mower and cutting the grass. It's a period when I can unwind, clear my head and think about stuff. What I don't like so much is taking the bins to the local refuse tip because we don't have a commer cial waste collection. The other problem is that it's difficult to get away. We have dogs, chickens, a garden, and of course the site and it's difficult to find anyone who wants to manage all of that so that we can take a holiday.
Have you found the owners group on Facebook useful? Yes, it's great to be able to talk to fellow owners and learn about aspects that we wouldn't have known where to start with, such as online booking systems. We need to have some form of security on our entrance gate so a recent discussion about coded keypads was really helpful. In fact, I've also had a chat with a few other CL owners in the locality through the group and one of our fellow members also came to stay with me which was great.
This interview was conducted in June 2019